Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Don’t give your teacher an apple; offer him a couple of basis points in your earnings instead.

Parent and students need some way of sorting through the reams of college information in order to make rational investments, but may I remind you that even when finding the absolute perfect college that you might benefit from aligning the incentives better.

In this respect what I am currently recommending my young friends when they take off for their MBA is that they offer a couple of basis points on their first 10 years earnings to those teachers they feel could best advance their careers…it makes wonders!

Aligning the incentives could in the long run also be the best way of getting information for the picking of a college to, as education should in fact be a joint venture between students, teachers, and colleges

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Odious debt revisited

I must confess I was blown away when reading the Financial Times editorial “Young, gifted, poor”, June 9, in which Junior, with reference “to the old saying that rather than inheriting the planet from our ancestors, each generation borrows it from the children” now wants to see “some collateral on the loan”. I mean, it sort of puts the whole issue of “odious debt” in a totally new and frightful light.

Honestly, the more I see what we are up to, the more certain I become that sooner or later our whole generation of baby-boomers could be kindly invited to take a field trip to an “ättestupa”, meaning those steep cliffs where supposedly elderly Scandinavians ages ago threw themselves from when they became useless to society.

I repeat again my argument for an urgent revision of our governmental system so as to align them with the true shareholder’s interest. If the average life is eighty years a new born should have 80 votes (exercised by his mother or older brother) someone like me would have 23 votes left, and someone over eighty should count his blessings and be glad if he is allowed to keep one as a memento. I do not want to owe the world to my children, I want to assure their rights as stakeholders and make it all a joint venture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yeah "Go out there and raise hell!"

And so Barbara Ehrenreich told the class of '07: Go out there and raise hell!

Well here is my proposal for a start!
“Cars should only be allowed between 18 and 38 years… from there on only public transport for the senior citizens.”
It is tragic-comic when you ask someone to go out there and raise hell under the strict premise that this will only be done according to your very particular perception of what that heavenly hell should be.
If we as the older or quasi older generation do not know what mess we are leaving (and this before the burst of the blissful ignorance bubble of the hedge funds) then we are just plain crazy.
As for myself I am already trying to ingratiate myself (or beg for mercy) with my one-child-one-vote movement. You are all welcome to join (I could tell them you have been in from the very beginning)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The ‛rights of children’ is anything but a juvenile concept.

Sir, if the average life length of a person in UK were 80 and our democracies had anything to do with representation of interests, as in companies, then a new born should have 80 votes, a middle age 56 year old like me 24 votes and someone over eighty should count his blessings if he is allowed to keep his single vote. Of course the previous is clearly just an exaggeration, but it serves to argue in favor of the one-child-one-vote concept, in which the votes of the children are to be exercised by their mother, father or older siblings.

I say this loudly protesting the title of grownup Christopher Caldwell’s “Why the ‛right of the children’ is a juvenile concept”, February 17 and some of it contents, among it his authoritarian conclusion that “Rights over to children will either belong to parents or to the state”.

Sir, with many of our current problems such as the climate change begging for longer perspectives than next quarter’s results, is it not high time that the children, who are the ones who could really have to live in the heat, should have their interests better represented in our societies? Also, the democracies that are now turning into baby-boomer dictatorships, it could truly behoove them to allow their young to have more say, before they all in frustration decide to carry out a coup and thereafter, hopefully politely, show their elders the way to the nearest “ättestupa”, those cliffs from were supposedly the Vikings threw themselves when they became burdens to the society.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Should not Higher Education be more of a joint venture?

Hearing so many young professionals in the USA describing their problems with debts they incurred while studying, I guess that soon some of them could be suing their Alma Maters for misrepresentation or plain failure in delivering the services offered.

Perhaps the incentive structure of the education system needs to be revised so that at least some of the higher education providers offer to collect a part of their fees through a profit participation scheme, like for instance by receiving a small percentage of the student’s future earned gross income that is above the level that the student could have been estimated to earn without further education, during his first 20 years of work.

How are then the universities going to pay for their professors now? Easy, that is what the financial markets are for. These participations in the future of our youngsters could be securitized and sold in the markets, perhaps even as a good investment for a professor’s retirement fund… of course, that is if the professor delivers on his promises.

For a university to show a willingness to invest in their own students, because they are sure of what they are giving them, might be a better marketing tool than outright grants and “we invest our money in your future” is my slogan. Also, for students, the question of what university offers to invests the most present dollars against the smallest percentage of the expected future earnings... should rank among the first when selecting an Alma Mater into which to invest their own future.

Parents should concentrate on giving their children the best pre-university preparation possible and thereby helping them to negotiate the best conditions possible with the universities. That there are careers needed for the society but where salaries might not be sufficient to pay off the university that is a different problem, and perhaps has to be solved by paying out specific amounts of subsidies or covering set percentages of the costs for different careers.

PS. If I owed a student loan I would ask for a debt to equity conversion, offering a percentage of my after tax earnings over a certain amount for a definite number of years.